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To ask a lovely bunch of total strangers on MN to please boost my confidence about bringing up baby??

(85 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Fri 26-Apr-13 22:58:38

Specifically about sleeping/feeding, which as DD is only 7 weeks old is pretty much all she does anyway!

Basically I am getting in a bit of a state and doubting everything I am doing. I am quite (ok, very) suggestible.

Obviously DD is too little for any kind of real routine (at least that is my instinct) and instinctively I know that even when she is older I am not keen on controlled crying etc (btw that is absolutely no judgment on people who do CC, it just wouldn't suit me). But I am in a panic at times feeling that all the advice I am getting is contradictory and not knowing what to listen to and what to ignore... Hmm, maybe I am a masochist to ask on MN then!!

But I would v much like to start instigating a few good sleep habits early on. we are lucky I think in that DD is not an utterly atrocious sleeper (at the mo) and seems a fairly chilled little character, however she does often get painfully overtired as she sleeps v little indeed in daytime... I hate watching her work herself up when I know it is over tiredness... Glazed eyes, rubbing face etc.

However I ave literally NO idea what to do for the best re daytime naps. Marc Weissbluth book has got me stressed out about the importance of napping (I said I was suggestible!!) and I have a good friend ramming Gina Ford down my throat (not literally...) then on the other hand I have my mum being deeply suspicious of daytime naps as she seems to regard it as some badge of honour that her children never napped, thereby in her eyes proving their high intelligence and general specialness...

Anyway right now I am honestly doubting everything I do, for example my initial instinct was that I wanted DD to NOT go up to her cot for a daytime nap but instead nap downstairs in her carrycot (I thought this might help her distinguish between day naps and night sleep) but thanks to all I have been reading I now worry that I am doing the wrong thing nd that if DD catnaps in her carrycot rather than going up for a proper deep sleep in her cot, she will be a anti social horror for the rest of her life etc...

Also we were getting some good results (calmer baby, more regularity to the day) by starting a three-hourly feeding regime last week after totally feeding on demand til then, but now I read in Marc W that I should NEVER wake a sleeping baby...

I am joking obviously but honestly it is making m head spin, I don't know what to do for the best.

I basically just want DD to get enough sleep if possible. I hate to see her overtired and she isn't keen on the daytime sleep I think she really needs. I would also love to be able, one day in a few months, to have some degree of self soothing in her cot rather than always having her fall asleep on me or DH... my Sister's children do the latter and it is something I personally would rather avoid if possible.

I had hoped to be able to cherry pick from a few experts (it is why i read a few books) plus use my own instinct but all the experts are so bossy and their methods seem so all encompassing (ie if you don't do every single thing they say you may as well not bother) and I am losing all confidence in any instinct anyway.

Any advice? And can anyone clear up the matter of pram versus cot for daytime nap, for the love of god??!

Alambil Fri 26-Apr-13 23:05:47

Personally, I'd get her sleeping in all sorts of places, so that when you go out / on holiday / to town / anywhere, she'll sleep when needed and you won't have to cut shopping short because "oh - she'll only sleep in her cot..." or have to go home after a lunch thing with a friend "oh - nap time, home we go!"

It gets very boring, very quickly!

She is definitely too young for routines - our health visitors (I work for SureStart) say that 12 weeks is the age they start settling into a "sort of" routine re feed/sleep

As for sleep tricks - keep it calm, quiet, read a story (yes, really) and then put in place of sleep; awake if necessary

Daytime naps - I'd put her in pram and rock to sleep, so that she gets in the habit of sleeping at that time of day (I find no baby can stay awake when their head is rocked!) - I'd then "fix" the "needs to be rocked" issue at a later date. For now, sleep is the aim and sleep is what she needs.

Congratulations on her arrival.

Bin the books. Seriously!

McPheelingTheSpring Fri 26-Apr-13 23:06:50

Right for a start breath smile

Now go burn those ruddy books!

Believe in yourself, and your abilities to parent your beautiful baby.

Advice is lovely, but you do whatever your soul tells you is right. If you want her to nap downstairs, then do that. Or you could pop her in the cot every now and then, and you potter around upstairs. Either way, you need to be comfortable. Sod everyone else wink

And congratulations, and welcome to the barking mad club grin

AgentZigzag Fri 26-Apr-13 23:10:08

For a very broad answer, I would say you know your baby the best, do what you feel is the easiest at the minute, doing things that can be easily put into the loose routine you have with her to make things easier in the future.

The 'phases' children go through can be quite short, so things will have changed so much in a few months time when your DD has started to develop in different ways, that you'll wonder why you were spending any time stressing about the best thing to do with her because it just doesn't matter smile

Don't stress.

Just be comfortable doing the easiest thing for both of you, and try to enjoy the time before they can talk/walk/get up to stuff her.

ItsAllTLAsToMe Fri 26-Apr-13 23:11:51

Ha, Marc Weissbluth's book is terrifying grin. I liked it for the sleep data, less so for the advice to use extinction (not even controlled crying, just ignoring your baby).

Daytime naps in a cot will be useful when you're DC is a bit bigger, so maybe try to vary them as suits at the moment.

AgentZigzag Fri 26-Apr-13 23:12:22

By loose routine, I meant just the things you generally do at the same time everyday without meaning to, like I used to have to go and drop off/pick up DD1 from school which meant we did similar things at similar times.

FumblesandFrolics Fri 26-Apr-13 23:13:25

Oh yes, all the advice drives you mad doesn't it...?

There is no right or wrong answer, only what works for you and DD.

My only advice on taking advice is that whatever you try,give it a week or two before trying something else.

Now, on the subject of naps my DD firstly would not nap, until I tried my sisters wrap sling and kept walking about until she fell asleep which was a minor miracle for us.

At 4 months she deigned to nap in her buggy, and only in the buggy, annoying as had to stay downstairs and I couldn't Hoover etc

At 18 months she decided to nap in her cot, and never again the buggy. Trapped in house every afternoon.

At 2 she will only nap in 'daddy's bed' hmm

Natural mother I am clearly not.

ShatterResistant Fri 26-Apr-13 23:14:00

Congratulations on your daughter! You will get loads of great advice from loads of experienced mums, I'm sure, but I just wanted to say that I feel your pain! My baby is 11 weeks, and a good sleeper at night, but terrible during the day. What I've found sometimes works is watching her very carefully, and putting her down when she's yawned no more than twice. (She sleeps upstairs during the day - that's my choice, so I can get on with stuff downstairs.) Also, in the last couple of weeks I have been able to let her cry for between 3 and 5 minutes. This is really useful, because I listen outside the door, and often she makes a little sighing noise, and I know she's about to fall asleep, so I don't go back in. Moments later, she's out! My mum advocates just turning the monitor off, which told me a lot! As I say, I'm no more experienced than you, and I'm sure others will have more useful advice. Have fun!

KatAndKit Fri 26-Apr-13 23:16:34

Your baby has not read any of the books. Follow your instinct. In the first 6 months they are supposed to be in the same room as you when they sleep so I'd say she is too young to go up in her cot for naps. Let her nap in her pram or get her in a sling so you have your hands free. She might sleep a bit longer in a sling and then be less over tired.

You are overthinking all this.Newborns usually can't stay awake longer than 90 minutes. Once she has been awake an hour, is fed, changed, burped etc then that is the time to take her for a little walk in the pram so she drops off to sleep before she reaches the cranky stage. Or a drive, or pop her in a sling.

Ignore Gina Ford if you are not interested in a bossy routine. Do what works best for you - things change so much so quickly so just because she has to sleep on you now or sleep in a pram or whatever does not mean she will still be doing that at age 5. Little babies often can't self soothe - they need help from a parent. They learn to self soothe when they are ready and this may be later than books suggest (babies have not read the books)

As for a feeding routine, your baby can't tell the time either. I did actually wake my baby if 3 hours had passed since the last feed as i was hoping this would make him go longer in the night. It did not.

DewDr0p Fri 26-Apr-13 23:18:42

OP you sound to me like you DO know what your baby needs. Ignore all the other advice if you can - read your baby's signals. You will be just grand.

I think your mum might have a touch of amnesia btw grin I never heard of a 7 week old baby who didn't need to nap!!

Monty27 Fri 26-Apr-13 23:18:57

Bin the books, as said above (more than once) grin

Wee new born characters have their own personalities, and each parent has their own idea of parenting smile

Emerald, to be honest, you sound absolutely perfect, instinct is better than any book you can read or that's ever been written, and from your post I think you have it spot on. Lots of love, lots of cuddles and INSTINCT when they are or are not wanted.

You say dd is quite chilled, there ya go! I take my hat off to you.

Keep it up.

Oh and by the way, bin the books did we say that already grin

Congratulations too on dd, and congrats too because in its own way your post is wonderful and a breath of fresh air.

McPheelingTheSpring Fri 26-Apr-13 23:22:53

<opens bin>


emeraldgirl1 Fri 26-Apr-13 23:25:07

Thank you everyone!
I think binning the books would help actually.
DH was the one who came home with Marc blooming Weissbluth, having had a colleague extol its virtues. Now DH thinks it is The Solution despite having only read the introduction... smile
I hadn't even considered the idea of varying things according to our needs at the time... Bonkers of me as I would love her to be adaptable. I was thinking that it had to be one thing for night and one for day but it occurs to me now that maybe it could work.
I also am reassured by the idea that I can wait a while on the idea of a routine of any kind... As I say I was just keen to get started on a few good habits but maybe it is too soon even for that?

McPheelingTheSpring Fri 26-Apr-13 23:27:20

Just enjoy her

This time is gone in a flash

Dilidali Fri 26-Apr-13 23:30:41

I think it is trial and error.
I also think that you need to 'listen' to your child.
I am a bit chaotic, but she has always loved routines, it is how her mind works. I had to educate myself, not necessarily to suit her, but to have the patience to trial stuff.
As an example, i thought blackout curtains are yet another gimmicky rubbish we 'ought' to buy for our babies. I love waking up with the daylight. However, little miss HATES it. She would wake up with daylight and scream her pretty head off. Even the tiniest sliver of light where the curtains would not perfectly meet was enough to wake her up. She is like this to this day.
Only you guys know what suits you best.

BoffinMum Fri 26-Apr-13 23:31:15

I have 4 DC and they all varied as babies.

Just hang out with her and try to guess what she needs. Eventually she and you will work it out. And sod the experts.

Helpful things:

Fresh air every day.
Put her down for a nap mid morning and mid afternoon and leave her for a bit to see what happens.
If she cries, spend a bit of time listening to what she's saying before picking her up/intervening.
Doesn't really matter where they sleep, tbh.
if in doubt, put daytime TV on for a bit, have a cuppa, and let her lie in a basket looking at some dangly toy or other. She may nod off anyway.

DoJo Fri 26-Apr-13 23:32:55

Don't drive yourself mad by trying to force a sleeping routine, no matter what age. You can tie yourself up in knots doing things in a way that seems to work, then there will be a growth spurt/tooth sprouting/stinking cold and everything will go to pot as she'll just want to cuddle with you and nap whenever she can. We have always just done what seemed like the natural thing to us, and although our son isn't a great sleeper at the moment (teeth and cold - hence my advice!) when he's ready, he will snooze wherever we are, be that a concert, a pub or the dinner table at our friends' house.

The only thing that I have specifically instigated deliberately is that whenever my son seemed tired and looked about to drop off I would gently pat his back so that he began to associate that strongly with sleep (which they do to a certain extent anyway as it supposedly replicates your heartbeat) so now when he's tired and fighting it, a few little pats can really help soothe him. It's also ideal for helping them sleep after feeding as you can combine it with burping and get two jobs done at once.

LittleBearPad Fri 26-Apr-13 23:34:28

Bin the books (or hide them at least). Let your DD fit into some of the things you want to do so she gets used to napping in buggy, carrycot, car, sling whatever.

One thing I did do, after a while, was put her down after the first yawn, if we were at home (ie nit car, buggy etc). It worked (most of the time)

Definitely don't worry about routines. You well find one day that your dd has created her own pattern to the day re feeds, naps etc.

Congratulations and trust yourself.

BoffinMum Fri 26-Apr-13 23:35:21

I think it will be at least a month or two until she has a proper routine.

oneandnomore Fri 26-Apr-13 23:36:17

Congratulations on your lovely new baby! Follow your instincts and you won't go far wrong smile
The face rubbing us a cue that your DD is tired, but she needs your help to settle to sleep. So pop her in her pram or crib or hold her until she settles.
You can address the self settling when she is older. Right now she needs to nap.
Relax and enjoy her, don't stress about the routine, it will come in time smile

BoffinMum Fri 26-Apr-13 23:38:04

Sometimes it is helpful to chat to her about what you are thinking, for example tell her you are putting her in the cot or pram as she might like to have a little sleep in there. If you do it in a calm voice she'll start associating that with settling down. My mum is monumentally brilliant with little babies and she does that sort of thing a lot.

DoJo Fri 26-Apr-13 23:38:59

ETA DoJunior, for New Year this year, had an hour long nap on my shoulder in the evening and then stayed up entertaining everyone until 1.30am - it didn't ruin him for life and he went to bed at the normal time the next night. It won't necessarily work for you to do this kind of thing, but it's always worth a try to see what you can get away with! If it doesn't work, at least you know, but you don't want to limit yourself unnecessarily if she can handle a bit more flexibility.

Bridgetbidet Fri 26-Apr-13 23:40:13

Lots of cuddles and love, milk and being kept clean and warm. Bear that in mind and you can't go far wrong.

My husband was listening to a show on a radio earlier with two gay blokes who had a adopted two little children who had previously been so badly neglected that one of them at the age of two couldn't even stand alone. You know when you hear things like that you realize that a lot of the worrying about methods and exactly what to do are just pointless because they just want to be safe and calm and fed and looked after and they don't really care which book it came out of.

AlnwickRose Fri 26-Apr-13 23:40:44

Read the books if you find them interesting (I did). Then don't worry about it. Go with the flow. Do what seems best at the time.

emeraldgirl1 Fri 26-Apr-13 23:42:07

Oh this is so helpful thank you!!

I have just burst into tears on a very surprised DH as tbh some of the pressure I have been feeling has come from him, he has been coming home every day with advice canvassed from colleagues about sleep etc... This is just DH (or all men?) to a T, he researches everything eg holidays, restaurants etc and I think it makes him feel comfortable to think he has gathered all the info required to make an informed decision...

I just feel like I am parenting by committee... A committee of which I am not even the head but a very junior member terrorised by a very bossy leader!

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